A great way to get to know someone better is to say something that makes them laugh.
Sharing a few good giggles and chuckles makes people more willing to tell others something personal about themselves, without even necessarily being aware that they are doing so, suggests new research.
Alan Gray of University College London discovered the tidbit in a new study recently published in the journal Human Nature.
英国伦敦大学学院(University College London)的艾伦•格雷(Alan Gray)在研究中发现了这一有趣的现象。最近，他的这项研究成果发表在了《人类天性》(Human Nature)杂志上。
According to Gray, the act of verbally opening up to someone is a crucial building block that helps to form new relationships and intensify social bonds.
Such self-disclosure can be of a highly sensitive nature — like sharing one’s religious convictions or personal fears — or a superficial tidbit such as one’s favorite type of food.
To investigate the role and influence of laughter in this disclosure process, Gray and his colleagues gathered 112 students from Oxford University in England, into groups of four.
The students did not know one another. The groups watched a 10-minute video together, without chatting to one another.
The videos differed in the amount of laughter they invoked, and the amount of positive feelings or emotions they elicited.
One featured a stand-up comedy routine by Michael McIntyre, another a straightforward golf instruction video, and the third a pleasant nature excerpt from the “Jungles” episode of the BBC’s Planet Earth series.
一个视频是迈克尔•麦金太尔(Michael McIntyre)的单人喜剧秀，一个是简短的高尔夫教学片，第三个是从《BBC行星地球系列》(BBC’s Planet Earth series)“丛林”(Jungles)一集里节选的一个令人愉悦的自然片段。
The levels of laughter and the participants’ emotional state after watching the video was then measured. Each group member also had to write a message to another participant to help them get to know each other better.
The participants who had a good laugh together shared significantly more intimate information than the groups who did not watch the comedy routine.
Gray suggests this is not merely because it is a positive experience, but because of the physiology behind a good laugh. It actually triggers the release of the so-called “happy hormone” endorphin.
The findings support the idea that laughter encourages people to make more intimate disclosures to strangers. Furthermore, researchers discovered the sharing of the information occurred so spontaneously, the person who disclosed information was seldom aware that he or she had done so.
It was only the listener who realized that it had happened.